Today, I’ve settled down to colour the templates for my latest book for the Creative Haven series published by Dover Publications Inc. And here’s a sneaky peeky teaser of the image I’ve just finished colouring not many minutes ago.
If you do a search on Amazon you’ll find out the theme of the book, but can you guess what the theme of this template is?
I’m feeling better emotionally, but I’m still very, very tired today. Processing emotional trauma through EMDR is surprisingly exhausting. After a lot of emotional distress yesterday, I’m feeling content at the moment.
Coloring and art-ing is usually soothing for me, and I have to say I enjoyed colouring this template in. I am going to have a bit of a break before I tackle the next one.
Drawn and coloured digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with a Microsoft Surface Pen with a Surface Studio.
I’ve really not been myself the past few days. With a couple of busy days this week, the emotional fallout from EMDR on Tuesday finally caught up with me as I slowed down Thursday afternoon. I’m so tired, and my mood isn’t the brightest to say the least.
It’s always a sign that even when I’m tired I can usually draw and create, but not much this week. I haven’t been able to find the inspiration to draw, nor have I found the interest or energy.
Today, around a meeting, I managed to draw this.
It’s a throwback to the more familiar art of earlier days. It has given me a chance to use some new motifs, as well as some favourite ones that crop up often.
The process of drawing was soothing, and I did my very best not to be too judgemental, though I did want to throw it out and restart several times as I wasn’t at all happy with what was coming out of the nib of my fountain pens or Uniball Unipins.
I switched to the Uniballs as the fountain pen ink was smudging lightly. I’ve fixed that, mostly, by digital wizardry. I also added the Distress Ink background digitally.
I know my inspiration and energy to draw will return, I’m just not feeling at all myself at the moment.
I do have a new self-care activity, which is sitting in/on the bed, crocheting shawls and listening to audiobooks – currently working my way through the Harry Potter series.
The rhythmic nature of crocheting is soothing. The familiarity of the Harry Potter story is also soothing. Being upstairs makes me feel safe, secure and it’s also comforting.
The memory being worked on in EMDR certainly has stirred some stuff up. I’ve had some very upsetting insights into how I’ve viewed myself. Releasing the trauma associated with this particular memory will be accompanied by a better view of myself. I may not fully believe it, but if I can believe a little of it then that is good enough for now.
I have to believe that with each memory and its associated traumatic experiences that are processed via EMDR I’ll believe the healthier, more positive statements about myself more and more.
These are some quotes I’ve found recently that are helpful to me in understanding me, helping me through this.
Trauma creates changes you don’t chose. Healing is about creating change that you do choose.
What happened to you was not your fault. The struggles you have today, like your cPTSD symptoms, are a normal response to abnormal events. So, please be kind to yourself.
The poison leaves bit by bit, not all at once. Be patient. You are healing.
I’ve had some fun today with thermal foiling. I’ve been waiting for an Amazon Basics laminator to arrive, which was the one that seemed to be the most recommended out of simple laminators. I’ve had the foil for quite a while.
For thermal foiling, the images need to be printed with a laser printer. The laminator then heats up the laser toner which becomes sticky and the foil sticks to it as you run the layers through the laminator. A quick cool down, peel the foil away and the black lines are left with foil covering them!
I played around with adding the foil first then adding colour, and coloring first before foiling. I also tried out alcohol markers, coloured pencils and Tombow Dual Brush markers both before and after foiling. They all worked well either way, though the alcohol markers do colour the foil, so for alcohol markers it may be best to colour first.
I then had to try them out on images and I chose to use two of my cute kittie designs. I coloured them with Copic markers before foiling. The one of the left has been foiled with gold, the one on the right with silver.
I mounted the designs on 4″ x 4″ square kraft card card blanks. To be honest, I could’ve done with printing these out a bit bigger as the lines were very bitty as they were so thin. Something I have to keep in mind when printing out future work. I think I’m going to have to design them to the size they’ll be printed at to make sure the lines are as thick as I’d like them.
I’m not a photographer. No matter what advice I’m given and follow I still don’t manage to get a good image. The gold shows up well and there are hints of silver visible on the right hand one, but I think you’ll get the idea.
I’m rather pleased with them and the sparkly, shininess keeps my inner raven quite happy.
I also now have a new tool in my creative tool box, one that I will use fairly often I think.
Emotional and mental wellbeing…
For the first time in ages it seems I feel awake and not needing to go back to bed for a nap in the afternoon. The emotional exhaustion of the recent EMDR, therapy sessions and Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talks is beginning to wear off. Mind you, that may change tomorrow as I have EMDR then rather than today just for this week. All the same, it’s nice to feel content and quite creative.
I’ve started a little book that I’ve titled ‘When it’s dark, look for stars’. It’s an A6 (UK size) sketchbook, and inside I am going to use Distress inks and other media to colour the pages and then add all shiny, metallic hand lettering and images and patterns with quotes and helpful words of advice, reminders for me on my darker days that I am not what the inner critic wants me to believe I am. Of course, my cute, foiled kitty and raven with rainbow and stars is definitely going to make it into the book.
I’m open to suggestions of what I could add to my little book, be it quotes, or kind words, or ideas for self-care. I’d also like to know if you’d like to see glimpses of it from time to time.
New coloring template in the facebook group
A new month means a new coloring template is available for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.
This month, I’ve designed a mandala with some of the motifs I’ve been using in my more abstract works lately.
If you fancy printing and coloring a mandala designed by myself, pop over to the group, join and you’ll find the new template and quite a few others there available exclusively to members. Terms and conditions apply.
If you do join in, I’d love to see your finished coloration!
I do struggle with colour schemes at times. I either go crazy overboard with bright, vibrant, rainbow colours or monochrome. For this one, I took the colours from some images of succulents and used small colour palette of just five basic colours, with varying tones of those colours to achieve the depth I like in my artwork.
The colour palette is also a bit different for me, much more muted, subdued. That may reflect my current emotional and mental weather. I’m not as gloomy as I have been over the past few weeks, but it certainly isn’t as bright and sunny as it can be.
I always find creating soothing to my mind and emotions. It’s my main self-care activity. It’s not the only one, but it’s the main one. Others include crochet/knitting, reading, napping. I’d like to add going for a walk to that list, but on days like today that can be difficult for me to do. Weekends tend to be more peopley than I can cope with even on the best of my days.
I have invited my sister over for a meal this evening. However, I’m not up to facing the craziness of a Saturday supermarket to do the shopping, so I’ll take her out for a meal instead. That would do me some good too, a change of scene and someone else cooking for me. It will also allow me to conserve what energy I have at the moment. I’m so tired all the time after a few very draining weeks through EMDR and Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talks.
Another cute and whimsical drawing with some hand lettering this day before I start on work for the book and then off to EMDR.
Line art drawn with a Lamy Fountain pen, coloring done digitally with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
My mood is back to being fairly content. However, the past week has been quite tough and emotional. It’s on days where I struggle to push the inner critic that tells me I’m stupid, horrible, unloveable, useless, a failure it can be hard to look for rainbows or stars. Yet, it’s on these days that it’s important to try to find just one spark of colour in the rainbow or just one teeny, tiny star that is barely visible to the inner eye.
I think I may need to make a list of things in my BuJo about myself that are small stars and little rainbows on my good days. A list that may bring little glimmers of light in the darkness that descends on my soul on the bad days.
Little reminders of the good things about me, the positive things I have done and do do, the kind words people have said to me. Little reminders that this dark time will pass. Little reminders that the inner critic hasn’t won, even though it’s trying to break me. Little reminders that I’ve survived time and time again. Little reminders of the progress I am making.
Little sparks to help ignite the light once again.
Yesterday I had a pretty grim day after EMDR on Monday.
I really was down, miserable and feeling very, very alone in this world yesterday. A day where I felt I was unlovable. A day where I felt I didn’t belong anywhere. A day where all the past rejections and hurts were bubbling up without any specific memories attached to them, just the emotions, the emotional flashbacks that come with CPTSD.
These are feelings and beliefs about myself that I lived my whole life with. Life just added more and more of the same to them, reinforcing them, even when evidence came along to show it wasn’t true. It’s so hard when I’m stuck in these flashbacks, in this frame of mind to find let alone believe anything that is contrary to the old messages.
Those old ways of thinking about myself are familiar. Not comfortable, but familiar and more powerful than the more positive ones I’m working on replacing them with. It’s like they have a life of their own and pounce on me when I’m at my most vulnerable, and after EMDR on Monday and yesterday I was vulnerable.
I still am somewhat vulnerable to them today, as I am everyday to an increasingly lesser and lesser degree.
It’s on days like these, as I recover from them, I’m able to see a little of the progress I’m making through EMDR, something that makes me see it’s all worthwhile. Even on days like these when the old inner critic finds another bout of fading strength it’s worthwhile persevering with EMDR and working towards the maximum possible recovery from CPTSD.
I still haven’t learned that trick of reaching out to people on days like this. I still believe I need to struggle along alone and isolate myself. It’s I still think I’d be a burden to them and I don’t want to worry them and I don’t want people to think I’m an attention seeker or making it all up. I avoid phone calls, messages and I try to avoid social media as that can provoke the flashbacks or intensify them.
Most of the time, when I’m not stuck in the past, I’m actually quite content when I’m by myself. I draw and create with a gentle smile on my face and inside my heart. Life feels soft and gentle.
But on days like yesterday life seems harsh and hard. I’ve never learned to reach out to people for company or help on days like these. During days like these I never think to reach out either, not until the feelings and thoughts of the emotional flashbacks recede.
Then … then I start to wish I felt I could reach out. Which I now won’t do as the need has mostly passed.
I am still emotionally vulnerable and fragile, nowhere near as bad as I was, but still fragile. The flashbacks are receding. I may have some waves and ripples left from the storm that has almost blown itself out. I weathered the storm once again, I can weather the tail end of it now.
Yesterday I drew these pawsome pals. In the midst of emotional flashbacks I feel very, very alone, more so as I isolate myself at these times. For me, I think this is more of a goal. That I reach out and/or let people into my life. I learned how to put a brave, smiley face on at a very young age. Letting that face drop is not easy. Not easy at all.
Yesterday turned out to be a different day than I expected.
The anti-stigma talks I was booked in to do didn’t happen. No one knew about them. So, I drove to some services not far away for a wee, tea, something to nibble and time out to relax and draw.
Then, I wended my way to Neath for lunch in forty-six, a cafe in Queen Street that I love for it’s quirkiness. I finished the drawing over lunch, and the result is above. I used various Pitt Artists pens from Faber-Castell, grey Uniball Unipin pens, and some coloured pencils. I wanted to work in monochrome, but I also wanted to experiment with scanning a monochrome drawing in and adding colour to it digitally. I tried that last night, but my mood plummeted and well, I abandoned the idea for now.
EMDR therapy followed lunch and then a drive back home.
I thought the therapy was quite gentle this week, though there was lots and lots going on in my body. We haven’t quite finished processing the memory I’m working on at the moment. Maybe next week will see it finished. I felt tired and a bit spaced out when I left EMDR, but positive and hopeful on the way home.
However, when I got home, after preparing a vegetable stew and putting it on to cook, my emotions crashed in on me.
I was so disheartened with myself, my art, my life. I felt so sad, so tearful. I was so tired too. Emotionally tired, mentally tired.
I didn’t know why I was bothering to do art, to draw coloring books, to write words, to speak up about mental health and my journey to achieve some measure of healing from CPTSD. I felt so lonely, so alone. I didn’t believe my own story, that I was making everything up as an excuse for being overweight, for being a failure, for being useless at everything I do.
I’ve not felt this disheartened for many weeks, time. The suddenness surprised me. No warning. No gradual decline that I could pick up on and work towards halting it.
I ended up going to bed early to escape these thoughts and feelings.
I woke up this morning feeling a bit better but with a horrible, horrible headache behind my eyes. I feel the pressure to complete the book I’m working on before the end of this month, but I’m not sure I’m in the right place to continue with it.
I suspect EMDR has shaken some stuff loose… and I need to give it time and space to be processed and released. I’ll have to see how I go with drawing later on, when the headache tablets kick in, to see if I can do anything today.
I need to tell myself I have time to complete the requisite number of illustrations, plus a couple extra so choices can be made. That it may be better to take a day to find my balance again.